I fondly remember Scholastic book orders from my childhood. It was always so exciting to get that little newsprint catalog each month and browse the affordable books. My children experience this same excitement, only problem is…their book orders suck!
What has happened to Scholastic’s quality? Do they really think parents want to buy crappy cheap Chinese toys and video games instead of quality literature?
It’s been eight years since I taught elementary school full time, and even then I noticed the children were more attracted to the fuzzy diaries and the cheap horse necklaces than the actual books in book orders. As a teacher, I liked being able to provide affordable books for families to purchase, as well as earn points redeemable for classroom books from our orders, but I hated sending home all that junk and poorly written books.
Scholastic has just continued to go further and further downhill since my teaching days. This week, my daughter brought home two book orders. The first one, called “Click” contains nothing but video games. Sure there are some “educational” titles such as “Kid Pix” and “Learn Math“. There’s even an “eco-friendly” game called “National Geographic: Plan It Green“, but the selections are mostly what I consider junk like “Chicken Shoot” and “World of Goo“. Even the prices aren’t so good anymore, as most of these titles are available for less on Amazon. It’s not that I am anti-video games, I just don’t think they belong in school book orders.
The second book order my eight-year-old daughter brought home from school is called “Lucky”, and guess what…they snuck a few “educational” computer games in there too. Even the classic Guiness World Records book is the “Gamer’s Edition”. Oh, there are other great gems, like the Purple Princess Wins The Prize that comes with a giant purple ring! Why does Scholastic think that every crappy book needs a crappy toy to go with it? Of course, it is not all bad. I did find The Frog and Toad, books way below my daughter’s reading abilities, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a book we have already read several times. In the end, I must confess, I allowed my daughter to order some crappy spy kit with some crappy toy, as long as she used her own money. Her teacher will be getting a lot of pennies 🙂
Although I applaud Scholastic’s attempt (or was it greenwashing) to go green, until they remove cheap crappy toys from their book orders, I don’t care how much FSC-certified paper you use. This is certainly not the first time that we have ranted about the lack of books in Scholastic book orders, and it will probably not be the last.